March 31, 1897 – Since Sister Raphaela’s request for more sisters in fall 1895, eight sisters had arrived from Rome. Although the convent was not at full capacity, the two-story house was crowded. As calls for nursing and extra help increased, the sisters received a generous, unexpected gift from the Degelan family, their neighbors across the street. It was a rent-free house, slightly larger than their duplex. The Milwaukee Journal referred to the new residence as “a cottage convent,” and Sr. Raphaela enthusiastically recorded the gift in the Chronicles.
These good people, seeing our poverty, gave us a house, No. 553 on Second Avenue to live in free of rent with the promise of ownership after their death. Repairs and taxes we were to meet ourselves. To change this private dwelling into a convent required many minor changes. But finally a cozy complete chapel, hot and cold water facilities—gas heating and light were installed for about $700. This was a large sum of money for our poor circumstances, but we feel very happy to have at last a home and a sanctuary for the Savior to dwell in.